What can you say when, after a single two hour user testing session, your test subject comes back to you the next day, with a video showing he can demonstrably choose to see straight, and in 3D?
What do you feel when this person is in his mid-thirties, has never seen straight, has never been able to choose 3D sight, and has given up any hope it is even possible?
This was the situation we found ourselves in after the first session of testing with Mr C.
In the evening following our two hour session together, Mr C sent us the video below via a chat messenger. Here (translated and paraphrased) are some of his comments.
At first he couldn’t believe it himself, but he made some incredibly important points which are already informing the focus of EyeSkills and how we will continue to develop the system.
Ich habe gelernt, es geht viel ums Akzeptieren, weniger ums Trainieren
Translated: “I have learnt that acceptance is more important than training”
Mr C had long given up on ever being able to use both eyes together. Unlocking Mr C’s potential for binocular sight (using both eyes together) simply wasn’t possible without at the very least, this belief in the possible. How is it possible to exert real mental will if there is only the feeling that it will be a waste of time?!?
Ich habe einfach einen Stift angeschaut… Mal mit dem einen, mal mit dem anderen Auge (=Change). Je nach Auge wechselte seine Position in Relation zu einem Gegenstand draußen.
Bei Fokus habe ich mir einfach vorgestellt, dass beides richtig ist und der Stift in die Mitte muss… Da hat man zunächst ein Doppelbild, aber dann so einen fancy 3D Eindruck.
Einfach angeschaut … gewünscht
Translated : “I simply looked at a pen…. changing the eye I was looking with (“Change”). Depending on which eye I was using, the position of the pen was changing position relative to its background. When I say “Focus”, I am simply imagining that both are correct, and the pen must be in the middle…. At first there’s a double image, and then a fancy 3D effect appears…. I simply look… and wish”
In talking with Mr C it has become clearer that our session built up his belief in the possible, by helping him first understand what lazy eye really is, how the different parts of seeing fit together, and critically : what his eyes could and were already capable of doing. By exploring this, Mr C gained in the confidence that perhaps he could achieve more than he thought – whilst at the same time getting some very simple tools and techniques to practice with.
In this undoubtedly exceptional case, Mr C was able to almost “flip a mental switch” and access what can only be inherent abilities of the brain to fuse and perceive depth – after all, these are skills he has not trained throughout his life, having always been strabismic!
Ich kann derweil unangestrengt, aber bewusst nicht Schielen.
Translation: “In the meantime I can effortlessly will myself not to have a lazy eye”
This does not, however, mean that Mr C no longer has lazy eye. He can now choose to use his eyes differently, but when he is not trying, old habits reassert themselves. How many hours of practice will be needed to migrate over three decades of routine lazy eye into a habit of “always seeing correctly”. It can take years to learn new habits, and that would be no surprise. The incredible thing is that this has actually happened.
It is about Körpergefühl… feeling the muscles in your eyes…
Translation: “It is about bodily sensation… feeling the muscles in your eyes…”
We are thrilled, inspired, motivated beyond words. It is so gratifying to know that we are on the right path and are already helping somebody who had not only been “written off” but who had “written himself off”!
The insights we have gained from even this very first user testing have been invaluable. If you would like to read more about how we are bringing these insights into the next design iteration, you can follow this story here (soon)… 🙂